Sing Down the Moon by Scott O’Dell

I didn’t know what to expect of a Scott O’Dell novel. To be honest, whenever I see his books I sort of gloss over them and move on to other books. However, in one shopping spree at my favorite second hand book store I found myself picking up everything that had a Newberry Honor/Award on it.  One of those was this book Sing Down the Moon.

Sing Down the Moon is about the ‘white men’ driving out the Navaho Indians to Camp Sumner, what is known in Navaho History as the Long walk. A walk that spanned 300 miles. Though I know very little of American History, this part of the story resonated through me as a Filipino. It reminded me of the Bataan death walk. Having recently driven through the Bataan route, I knew that wasn’t an easy feat.

The book’s language is simple and easy to understand. The narrative is plain and yet sincere. It resonates to those who have been colonized and driven out of their own homes. It portrays the endurance and perseverance of people in the hands of cruel colonizers. The novel is narrated through the eyes of Bright Morning, a very apt name for someone who believed that she could come back home.

Sing Down the Moon was surprisingly moving. I recommend it to be read by kids, young adults and even adults. The American Indian story is fascinating and their understanding of nature and belief in omens resonate to cultures with similar beliefs.  From this book, I took away not only an understanding of some of the American Indian’s history, but an understanding of my own Filipino story. There are those who succumb to colonization for comfort and those who only recognize one home.

Scott O’ Dell was an American children’s author. He wrote 26 novels for youngsters alongside three adult novels and four nonfiction books. He is famously known for his books: Island of Blue Dolphin, The King’s Fifth, Black Star Bright Dawn, The Black Pearl and Sing Down the Moon. He mostly wrote historical fiction.

4 Comments on Sing Down the Moon by Scott O’Dell

  1. myragarcesbacsal // August 31, 2010 at 7:52 am // Reply

    Did they mention whether Scott O’Dell was an American Indian? I think I have his Island of the Blue Dolphins and I think I’ve read it too. Something about it seems awfully familiar, problem is when you’ve read way too many books, you tend to forget titles/authors, etc. It does sound like a good read. I love historical fiction. Is it also a coming-of-age kind of novel?

    • Mary of GatheringBooks // September 6, 2010 at 12:13 am // Reply

      He isn’t an American Indian, but I think he was very interested in American History, hence his writing is mostly historical fiction. It has elements of coming of age, but that is not the center of the story. I’m going to check his other books when I’m done with the pile i’m currently reading.

  2. I loved Island of the Blue Dolphins when I was a girl and read it last year to my two boys – I wrote about it briefly here – but I’ve never read any of his other books so thank you for highlighting this one.

  3. Mary of GatheringBooks // September 6, 2010 at 12:17 am // Reply

    Hi Marjorie,

    I’m going to check out Island of the Blue Dolphin. I like how simple his writing is, I suppose that the nice thing about most children’s books they’re plot driven. I’m glad this review gave you an idea about Sing Down the Moon.

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